Wellington, June 28, 2022
Former National MP and Justice Minister Amy Adams has said that Opposition Leader Christopher Luxon is right to rule out restricting abortion law, calling the alternative “absolutely soul-destroying.”
Speaking to RNZ, Adams also sounded a note of warning to her socially conservative former colleagues that their views are increasingly “out-of-touch” with the public.
Shortly after taking the helm of National, Luxon, who describes himself as “pro-life,” committed not to change the abortion law if elected Prime Minister next year.
Following the Roe v. Wade decision in the US, Luxon said, “These laws will not be relitigated or revisited under a future National government, and health services will remain fully funded.”
“US Verdict outrageous”
Adams told RNZ that anything other than an unequivocal assurance would have put Luxon in a “very bad” position and that a majority of New Zealanders regarded abortion as a health issue.
“There is no place whatsoever for politicians, lawyers, and judges to start determining to what health procedures women are entitled. When political parties wade into that space, they put themselves in great peril and they risk getting substantially out of touch with those people they represent. The US Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v Wade is outrageous and should scare women all over the world,” she said.
“We can get quite complacent that our progressive movements. are set in stone, but actually, it shows us that things can be undone and freedoms we perhaps take for granted. I felt quite sick; it made me sad and very angry,” Adams said.
On Saturday, June 25, 2022, Luxon directed his Tamaki MP Simon O’Connor to remove a Facebook post showing support for the US Supreme Court ruling.
O’Connor posted “today is a good day” surrounded by love hearts.
Speaking to RNZ, Luxon said that he felt the message was being “misrepresented as the National Party position.” He said that O’Connor was entitled to his own personal views but also believed the message was “insensitive to people on the other side of that debate.”
Sensitive and distressing
“It is a sensitive and distressing issue, and I want to make sure that New Zealanders understand that there will be no change under a National government.” He said that all his MPs were united around the commitment not to change the abortion law if elected next year.
“I serve the common cause of all New Zealanders. I am not here for one group or one interest or one topic,” he said.
O’Connor did not return RNZ’s calls.
Questions for Labour
Speaking at the regular post-Cabinet media conference, Acting Prime Minister Grant Robertson questioned whether Luxon’s assurance could be trusted.
“It is great news if that is what Christopher Luxon says he is going to do. But I could also understand why people could be sceptical about that given what he has said in the past (and) given that over half of his caucus voted against abortion reform,” he said.
Robertson was also questioned Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta’s tweet calling the Supreme Court ruling “draconian” despite voting against removing abortion from the Crimes Act.
He said that Mahuta had dealt with the issue in accordance with her conscience and deferred questions to her.
“The Labour Party continues to support women in New Zealand to be able to access abortion services and to have reproductive rights. We passed the legislation, it was a government bill, and I stand by what we are doing here.”
Craig McCulloch is Deputy Political Editor at Radio New Zealand. The above Report has been published under a special agreement with www.rnz.co.nz